It has been repeatedly considered the most radical upgrade to the iPhone 12 range, but new leaks suggest Apple has made a shocking design decision with the core of its new iPhones.
Turning heads, the iPhone 12 Pro Max was stained on the popular AnTuTu benchmarking platform and reveals some of the smallest performance upgrades in iPhone history. Furthermore, while initial technology assessments have suggested that the range’s revolutionary A14 chipset may be faster than a MacBook Pro, the reasons for its shortfall appear to be self-inflicted.
Analyzing the scores, we learn that the iPhone 12 Pro Max only has 16% faster CPU performance than last year’s iPhone 11 line, while graphics performance is essentially flat with a 4% speed increase. More positively, memory speeds have increased by 22%, but the big picture is that these numbers were not predicted by the world’s first five-nanometer chip. As late as last month, the A14 CPU and GPU gains had increased by 40% and 50% respectively.
What happened? In a word, battery life. Confusing all logic this year, Apple downgraded the iPhone 12 range batteries, despite being the first iPhones to incorporate 5G (notoriously power-hungry) modems. This move also led to Apple ditching another popular but draining feature for this generation: 120Hz “ProMotion” displays. And now it appears the A14 chip has been optimized for efficiency and not speed to cover these savings on battery costs.
In Apple’s defense, this disappointment has been reported. The company officially unveiled the A14 chip when it announced the new iPad Air and (rather selectively) chose to compare its performance to the old A12, rather than the A13. These numbers could be extrapolated, however, by confirming that the 2020 iPad Air would only have around 17% and 8% CPU and GPU improvements over the A13. These numbers vary with a margin of error compared to the AnTuTu scores.
Again, the reason for the modest gains appears to be battery life with Apple reducing the battery capacity of the new iPad Air by 8% compared to its predecessor. But with the iPhone 12’s batteries becoming 10% smaller than equivalent iPhone 11 models, it’s possible that Apple has limited GPU performance even further.
Given that we already know that Apple is also removing the supplied charger and EarPods from the iPhone 12 range, keeping the same big notch and raising prices, expectation levels are surprisingly low for the new models. That said, their edgy design looks good, there are eye-catching new screen sizes, and their wireless charging will receive a mysterious magnetic upgrade.
That said, in my opinion, considering all of these trade-offs, smart money awaits the launch of Apple’s cheapest iPhone 12 Pro early next year.
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